Well damn, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo was so much fun! Let’s look at some amazing facts about it, shall we?
I’ve been avoiding demon/mythology YA Fantasy for a while, because they’re so damn repetitive… Even though I’m a big fan of Greek Mythology, there’s only so many white-girl-falls-in-love-with-the-reincarnation-of-Hades I can take, you know? Hence why I was beyond ecstatic to dive into The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, which deals with mythological beings I had never heard about before (because I’m a Western girl living stereotype, ughhh). I said it in my review for The Thief, but I love reading about lore and legends, and the way F.C. Yee made Genie relate Sun Wukong’s tale was absolute perfection : funny, captivating, and did I say HILARIOUS? Yeah? Moreover, if it made me want to learn more about all these legends I didn’t know about, I can’t begin to imagine how amazing and important it is for readers from the Chinese diaspora to see their mythology starring in a YA novel. We definitely need more of this.
Genie, the Chinese-American main character, is everything I enjoy in my female-leads : she’s flawed but oh so likeable, altruist but not in a unrealistic martyr kind of way, driven and overachieving but a little lost, hot tempered but caring, in one word : I really, really liked her. I loved especially the fact that she didn’t forget her life, her friends, her family, her dreams for the sake of a demon hunting quest. On the contrary, she reacts in the only believable way, in my opinion : she’s pissed at the mess Quentin brings into her life.
How dares he, indeed.
Quentin is another embodiment of the kind of characters I like reading about : infuriating but in the best way possible (the kind that makes me laugh, eh), arrogant but ultimately respectful. Sure, I went all Whaaat? at some of his reactions but he made me smile so big, I couldn’t hold a grudge. Not to mention that Genie was 100% able to stand her ground.
As for the romance? Ha! Again, F.C. Yee handled it perfectly, with just the right amount of interactions to let us wanting for more. My favorite kind, really. Also their meet-cute was GOLD bahahahahahaha go Genie!
The secondary characters were well-rounded and interesting, especially Genie’s mum and Yunie, her best friend. I loved that they never seemed like cardboard copies but had a personal voice.
What can I say about the plot, except that reading this book was like a rollercoaster of fun? I’m always wary of fast-paced stories because too often the characters and world-building suffer from it. Not so much here. Indeed if The Epic Crush of Genie Lo does rely on a multitude of action scenes, it never feels hollow or gratuitous, and I appreciated that a lot. Plus it managed to surprise me several times, even though I guessed some parts, which is pretty rare in YA Fantasy, so there’s that.
If The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is F.C. Yee‘s debut novel, I’ll be sure to read more from him in the future (first : is there a sequel planned? Because?? Seriously??) : his storytelling feels effortless and the dialogues are funny and enjoyable. It reminded me a bit of Rick Riordan‘s, actually (yes. I went there) : a little young-ish, but in the best kind of way.
► Recommended to every reader who’s tired of reading the same plots over and over again. Trust me, you’ll enjoy the ride.
TW – use of ableist words, as cr*zy or cr*ziness.